The name of Tony Poole’s company speaks volumes, since he has experienced firsthand what it means to start a new life.
He grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, where he and his three siblings were raised by a young, single mother. He described the city as “gang infested” and said it became a way of life for him. As a teenager, he worked in several restaurants in order to stay off the radar of the police.
“My job kept me safe and made me realize how important it was for me to help people rather than cause pain or harm anyone because at work you had to smile and have an upbeat attitude,” he said. “It made me control my attitude and treat people with kindness, and it changed my heart.”
It was during those years of working as a dishwasher and server that his dream of one day owning a restaurant took root. He
came to Vancouver, Washington, to visit his sister and decided not to return to Ohio. “I saw how different Vancouver was. The people were different and no one knew me. I took it as a fresh start and I started to pursue my dream of owning my own restaurant.”
In 2015, Poole opened an eatery called Dessert & Thangz LLC, going so far as to obtain a business license and certifications, establish a website and open a bank account. Despite spending thousands of dol- lars on consultants and seeking help from business experts at the SBA and SBDC, the restaurant floundered. The COVID-19 pan- demic dealt the final blow.
Poole enrolled in courses to become a general contractor and got his license, insurance and bonding. He started learning how to design and put together lines and arcs. He now has four employees at Tony’s New Life Construction.
Based in Longview, Washington, the company does commercial construction and renovations as well as residential construction and renovations. Its design and construction services range from new construction of homes and home additions to hotels, department stores and – fulfilling his longtime dream in a different way – restaurants.
“Tony’s New Life Construction LLC would like to encourage anyone with a dream to NEVER GIVE UP and fight for what you want,” Poole said, adding that it’s best to dis- regard negative comments from the com- petition.
“You can call us, reach out, because if you have a vision we will help you see it through. At Tony’s New Life Construction, we do not underestimate the importance of
community,” he said.